Month: October 2016

Exploring the Climate Change Risks and Solutions on Nov. 3

Posted on

Before The Flood: The Film at the Commons @ BALE


Academy Award-winning filmmaker Fisher Stevens (The Cove) teams up with actor/producer Leonardo DiCaprio for the film, Before the Flood, which chronicles the impacts of climate change and what we must do immediately to confront the challenges. Released this week in 171 countries and in 45 languages, this high-powered film is heavily focused on solutions emerging from around the world.

With DiCaprio’s strong stance on climate justice and his role as U.N. Messenger of Peace on Climate, the emphasis of the documentary is on urgent action and a rapid and just transition from fossil fuels to clean energy. There is stunning footage of mountaintop removal coal mining, the Alberta tar sands, calving glaciers, destroyed rainforests and more evidence of human influence and suffering. And there’s less stunning but equally important footage and interviews about the delayed policy action wrought by climate science denial and industry-funded misinformation.

The film shows at the Commons @ BALE (35 South Windsor Street), South Royalton, Vermont on Thursday, Nov. 3 at 6:30 PM and will be followed by open discussion. Free (donations welcome).


BALE Awarded Major Matching Grant Challenge

Posted on Updated on

“…collaboration is an evolutionary capacity needed for humanity to make its next step… or really to even survive.”

A recent showing of the film, “The Economics of Happiness” at the Commons @ BALE featured filmmaker Steven Gorelick.

“We are grateful.” That’s how Chris Wood, Director of BALE (Building A Local Economy), summarized his appreciation for the Canaday Foundation’s grant support for the community group that works to build awareness and engagement toward long-term resilience in the region. Known by that acronym, BALE, a local organization based in a storefront in South Royalton, was challenged to a $22,500 matching grant for 2016-2017.

“I think what is compelling about BALE,” observes Wood, “and surely is part of why this regional foundation supports us, is that we believe that the health of any community is increased by connecting it to more of itself… and that collaboration is an evolutionary capacity needed for humanity to make its next step… or really to even survive. We have to change our mindset from competition to collaboration, from separation to connection, and fear and hatred to compassion,” says Wood, who helped launch BALE over five years ago. “If you look at the body of our work in the area, we are constantly capturing both the big picture of our present global crisis and building strong community through real grassroots ties… all at the same time.”

BALE, an outgrowth six years ago of the farm-to-school group, Royalton Roots, engages the community through public programs (now running the series “Localize the Economy: Build Resilient Communities”), a lively and dynamic space called the Commons (activities nearly every night of the week), and helping launch practical initiatives that bring concrete solutions to the community (White River Investment Club and White River Community Solar).

Wood says, “Much more than a ‘buy local’ group, BALE connects the dots between climate chaos, economic meltdown and our own personal limitations and suffering. It offers the localization movement as a systemic alternative to corporate globalization, as well as a strategy that brings community and meaning into our lives.”

“Now we need to make good on this generous challenge,” he says. “We hope that those who see the vital impact we are making in the White River Valley will step up with the critical support to keep us going.” Click the donate button on the website For more information, contact Wood at or 802-498-8438.


White River Reconciliation Project

Posted on

“… Coming together to imagine an ethic that not only acknowledges, but emulates, ecological principles.”


sherrimitchell_5x7_bw-3-1-600x840An introductory gathering of the White River Reconciliation Project (WRRP) takes place on Friday, Oct. 14 from 5:30-8 p.m. at the United Church in Strafford and features Sherri Mitchell, who founded and leads the Land Peace Foundation.

Vanessa Brown of the White River Reconciliation Project presents its thinking and plan for WRRP. “We believe that deep change for climate justice requires local communities coming together to imagine an ethic that not only acknowledges, but emulates, ecological principles. We will introduce the White River Reconciliation Project’s initiative to explore how our most deeply held beliefs may translate into an bioregional ethic used to inform law and policy.” This first program is fortunate to have for Sherri Mitchell’s critique and consultation during this event.

Sherri Mitchell was born and raised on the Penobscot Indian reservation in Eastern Maine. She received her Juris Doctorate and a certificate in Indigenous People’s Law and Policy from the University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law. In 2010, she received the Mahoney Dunn International Human Rights and Humanitarian Award, for research into Human Rights violations against Indigenous Peoples. Sherri was a longtime adviser to the American Indian Institute’s Healing the Future Program and currently serves as an adviser to the Indigenous Elders and Medicine People’s Council of North and South America.

Sherri’s spiritual life holds within her a particular experiential wisdom that moves through time and into the future. This is wisdom that can guide our work to build a community that is kind, loving and sustainable in the bioregion of the White River Valley.

The following day (Oct. 15), Sherri will be co-facilitating the two-day symposium “Deep Change for Climate Justice: Coalescing a Transformational Movement” in White River Junction. For more information on that, visit

This event features a potluck dinner with donations ($0 – $50.00) going toward expenses and the White River Reconciliation Project. For more information call Gregory Wilson 772-871-6010 or email




New Story Writing Group Launches Fall Series

Posted on Updated on

‘Big science, big history, big story.’

That’s how Vanessa Brown, Director of the newly-formed White River Reconciliation Project, describes the New Story Writing Group programs that launch this Thursday, October 6 at the Commons @ BALE in South Royalton from 3-6 P

tucker“Join us this Thursday for the first of a four-part video series called the ’Journey of the Universe: A Story of Our Times led by senior research scholars Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim,” urges Brown who says there is no prerequisite knowledge needed to participate in this… “just an openness to learn about the complex development of the universe.” Tucker  (shown in photo) and Grim are co-founders of the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale University and guide the organization Emerging Earth Community.

The first session, titled “The Unfolding of Life,” tells the story of evolution as an epic narrative, rather than as a series of facts separated by scientific disciplines. According to Tucker, this narrative form changes perceptions so that people begin to see themselves as an integral part of this narrative. By situating us within this story, “we can better appreciate the complexity and beauty of processes such as self-organizing dynamics, natural selection, emergence, symbiosis, and co-evolution,” say T
ucker. “As we discover these intricate processes of evolution, we awaken to the beauty and complexity of our natural environment at this critical juncture in our planetary history.”

The series continues each Thursday through the fall. Suggested donation of $0-20 per class supports the White River Reconciliation Project and BALE (Building A Local Economy). Drop-ins are welcome and additional course readings available. For more information, contact Vanessa Brown at or (802) 595-9842.